Archive | April 2015

US Vaporized and Experimented on the Indigenous of Marshall Islands*

US Vaporized and Experimented on the Indigenous of Marshall Islands*

…we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicines and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe…– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Investigative journalist William Boardman’s findings on US vaporization of Marshall Islands and human experimentation on Marshall Islands native “savages”, as they were classed by US media:

Nuclear Savage” is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation – deliberate human radiation poisoning – just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more than two years keeping this story off the air.

The preview reel of “Nuclear Savage” includes a clip with a stentorian newsreel announcer reporting on the American treatment of Marshall Islanders in April 1957, and explaining to his predominantly American audience:

“The Marshallese caught by fallout got 175 roentgens of radiation. These are fishing people, savages by our standards, so a cross-section was brought to Chicago for testing. The first was John, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll…. John, as we said, is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.”

“Some use the term ‘savage’ to refer to people from primitive cultures, but nuclear experimentation pushed savagery to new levels. In the 1950s, the U.S. conducted 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, vaporizing islands and exposing entire populations to fallout. The islanders on Rongelap received near fatal doses of radiation from one test, and were then moved onto a highly contaminated island to serve as human guinea pigs for 30 years.”

Horowitz, the director of Nuclear Savage, notes that the US “bl[e]w up all these islands … purposely contaminated all these people as human experiments.”

Boardman continues:

In 1998, staff from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a comparison study to compare the amount of radioactive Iodine-131 at four different radiation-polluted sites, measured in curies (1,000 curies of Cesium-137, as found in a radiation therapy machine, could produce serious health effects in a direct exposure of just a few minutes). The CDC team reported its finding that the atmospheric release of curies of Iodine-137 at the Hanford nuclear processing plant was 739,000 curies; at Chernobyl the release was 40 million curies; at the Nevada bomb test site, 150 million curies; and in the Marshall Islands, 6.3 billion curies (more than 30 times as much radiation as the other three sites combined).

Even recently, the US has tried “to re-re-settle some populations back to their home islands that were still dangerously radioactive.” However, the film helped rally the islanders and reduced the US re-re-settlement effort to nothing more than “a bunch of empty houses.”

One year ago, nearly to the day, the Marshall Islands bravely brought a lawsuit to the International Court of Justice and U.S. Federal District Court “against the U.S. and the eight other Nuclear Weapons States (NWS)”, which are refusing “to meet their treaty obligations to disarm.”

Obama, in direct contravention of US word and legal requirement, is devoting 1 to 1.5 trillion dollars to US nuclear weapons development, even as the US, also illegally, cuts off water to some of its own, poor residents.

From 1946-1958, the US conducted 67 nuclear weapons experiments on the Marshall Islands, the equivalent of “one-and-a-half Hiroshima bombs” every day.

On a related note, Obama continues to refuse to give the country of Diego Garcia back to its indigenous inhabitants. The pristine island nation was seized and cleansed of its nationals by the US and Britain, then turned into a US toxic waste dump-site and base for Washington’s global execution and torture racket.


Related Topics:

Nuclear Tests: South Pacific Islands to Sue France for $1billion*

The Innate Racism of Israel: Ashkenazi Jews Exterminating Arab Jews*

Abu Ala Afri, al-Baghdadi Successor*

Abu Ala Afri, al-Baghdadi Successor*

Leader of the ISIL terrorist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died and members of the Takfiri group in Iraq have already sworn allegiance to Abu Ala Afri as his successor, Arab media reports said on Sunday.

Simon Elliot aka Al-Baghdadi a MOSSAD Agent

According to two Iraqi news agencies, Alghad Press and Al-Youm Al-Thamen (the 8th Day), as well as sources in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Baghdadi died in an Israeli hospital in the occupied Golan Heights where he had been hospitalized for treatment after sustaining severe injuries during a joint attack of the Iraqi army and popular forces.

The sources added that al-Baghdadi has been declared by his Israeli physicians and surgeons as to be now “clinically dead”.

The terrorist leader was targeted in an airstrike in Western Iraq on March 18.

Al-Youm Al-Thamen quoting intelligence sources said ISIL had earlier recorded several videos of its leader months before the March airstrike and after the first time that he escaped lethal injuries around a year ago to prove that he is alive until the group can introduce a universally accepted new leader.

The sources added that the members of the Takfiri group operating in Iraq have already pledged allegiance to a new leader called Abdul Rahman al-Sheijlar, alias Abu Ala Afri, as Baghdadi’s successor.

There are also unconfirmed reports that internal disputes have erupted and gaps among a number of ISIL factions in Syria and Iraq are widening over the appointment of the new leader, as the ISIL branch fighting Syria has rejected Afri’s leadership and are dithering over Baghdadi’s successor.

The Spanish-language Hispan TV television also released a report on April 25 in which it confirmed the death of the ISIL leader.

A report released by the Guardian on March 21 said Baghdadi suffered serious and “life-threatening” injuries during an attack in March.

The report, of course, added that Baghdadi has survived his wounds.

Baghdadi’s wounding led to urgent meetings of ISIL leaders, who initially believed he would die and made plans to name a new leader.

An Iraqi official confirmed that the strike took place on 18 March in the al-Baaj a district of Nineveh, close to the Syrian border. There had been two previous reports in November and December of Baghdadi being wounded, though neither was accurate.

Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi official who advises Baghdad on ISIL, said,

“Yes, he was wounded in al-Baaj near the village of Umm al-Rous on 18 March with a group that was with him.”


Related Topics:

Head of ISIS, al Baghdadi Reportedly Dead*

Top 10 Ways Islamic Law Forbids Terrorism*

ISIS/L and European Neo-Nazis United under Pentagon’s 5th Generation Warfare*

The Three World Wars of Albert Pike*

The Three World Wars of Albert Pike*

A 33rd degree Mason, Albert Pike was one of the founding fathers, and head of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, being the Grand Commander of North American Freemasonry from 1859 and retained that position until his death in 1891. In 1869, he was a top leader in the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Pike was said to be a Satanist, who indulged in the occult, and he apparently possessed a bracelet which he used to summon Lucifer, with whom he had constant communication. He was the Grand Master of a Luciferian group known as the Order of the Palladium (or Sovereign Council of Wisdom), which had been founded in Paris in 1737. Palladism had been brought to Greece from Egypt by Pythagoras in the fifth century, and it was this cult of Satan that was introduced to the inner circle of the Masonic lodges. It was aligned with the Palladium of the Templars. In 1801, Issac Long, a Jew, brought a statue of Baphomet (Satan) to Charleston, South Carolina, where he helped to establish the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Long apparently chose Charleston because it was geographically located on the 33rd parallel of latitude (incidentally, so is Baghdad), and this council is considered to be the Mother Supreme Council of all Masonic Lodges of the World.

Albert Pike made his mark before the war in Arkansas as a lawyer and writer, but as a Confederate Brigadier General, he was, according to the Arkansas Democrat of July 31, 1978, a complete “WASH-OUT,” not a hero.  Yet, Gen. Albert Pike is the only Confederate general with a statue on federal property in Washington, DC. He was honoured, not as a commander or even as a lawyer, but as Southern regional leader of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. – The Three World Wars

BETWEEN 1859 and 1871 Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about a One World Order. Based on a vision revealed to him, Albert Pike wrote a blueprint of events that would play themselves out in the 20th century, with even more of these events yet to come. It is this blueprint which unseen leaders are following today, knowingly or not, to engineer the planned Third World War:

“THE FIRST WORLD WAR must be brought about in order to permit the Illuminati to overthrow the power of the Czars in Russia and of making that country a fortress of atheistic Communism. The divergences caused by the “agentur” (agents) of the Illuminati between the British and Germanic Empires will be used to foment this war. At the end of the war, Communism will be built and used in order to destroy the other governments and in order to weaken the religions.”

“THE SECOND WORLD WAR must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences between the Fascists and the political Zionists. This war must be brought about so that Nazism is destroyed and that the political Zionism be strong enough to institute a sovereign state of Israel in Palestine. During the Second World War, International Communism must become strong enough in order to balance Christendom, which would be then restrained and held in check until the time when we would need it for the final social cataclysm.” | More: The Untold Russian Genocide (video)

“THE THIRD WORLD WAR must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the “agentur” of the “Illuminati” between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion…” | More


Related Topics:

The Vatican and One World Government*

ISIS/L and European Neo-Nazis United under Pentagon’s 5th Generation Warfare*

And One Ring to Bind Them All*

The Only Region in the World Projecting U.S. Crumbling Hegemony

…which will bring about its own downfall…

Related Topics:

“We, the elders of Zion, pull the strings of Congress”

The End of the American Century*

Greater Israel” Requires the Breaking up of Existing Arab States*

ISIS/L and European Neo-Nazis United under Pentagon’s 5th Generation Warfare*

Israel’s Latest War in the Planning Eight Years*

Egypt Begins to Import Gas from Israel*

Egypt: Israel to Support Sisi’s Regime*

The Sinai Portrayed by Egyptian Media is not Sinai*

Saudi Prince Calls for Prosecution Of Officials Who Backed Egyptian Coup*

Yemen: U.S. Backed Government Forced to Flee, but Will that Stop Them?*

Saudi Blood Money for Mass Slaughter in Yemen*

Why the West Destroys and Humiliate Peoples

U.N. Report on How Israel Coordinates with ISIS inside Syria*

US And UK Planes are Air-Dropping Weapons And Supplies to ISIS*

22 Years of Fake “Islamic Terror”*

Iraqi Forces Arrest ISIL’s US, Israeli Military Advisors*

Israel Admits Aiding CIA’s al-Qaeda in Syria*

The Butcher of Bahrain is British*

CIA + Contractors = ISIS in Afghanistan*

U.N. Western Terrorist States Refuse To List ISIS a Terror Group*

And One Ring to Bind Them All*

Open Letter to the People of Iran from the People of the United States*

‘US Losing Financial Credibility‘ : Gerald Celente on China International Bank – AIIB!

How the British Empire aka New World Order Sowed Seeds of Destruction towards Islam*

One Country that does not Cheat: Netanyahu said He fears Iran will Honour Nuclear Deal*

Top 10 Ways Islamic Law Forbids Terrorism*

President Mohammed Morsi Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison*

Traditional Marriage in D.C. has become a March*

Traditional Marriage in D.C. has become a March*

By  Warren Mass

An estimated 10,000 people marched in the third annual March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., on April 25. The event was organized by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which defines it mission as “work[ing] to defend marriage and the faith communities that sustain it at the local, state, and national levels.”

The Princeton, New Jersey-based NOM is led by Brian S. Brown, former executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, which has been a vocal opponent of assisted suicide, abortion, and same-sex “marriage” in Connecticut.

During a speakers’ program held for marchers in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building, Brown said:

“The people of this nation know what marriage is, and we do not want it redefined.”

The March for Marriage took place three days before the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on April 28 in four cases weighing whether states that bar same-sex marriage must recognize such unions that are legal in other states.

AP reported that the cases before the court come from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, which comprise four of the 14 states that allow only traditional heterosexual marriage. Those states’ bans on same-sex marriage were upheld by the federal appeals court in Cincinnati in November. Only 11 states have legalized same-sex marriage through ballot measures or the legislature, however, the others coming about by means of court rulings.

The program held in conjunction with the march featured several religious leaders, highlighting the moral impetus for participants to defend marriage. One of the most high-ranking religious leaders to speak was Joseph Kurtz, who is archbishop of the Diocese of Louisville, Kentucky, and current president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Kurtz said that society’s view of regarding marriage only as “an adult friendship” loses sight of the “sacrificial love” and “one flesh union that Jesus Himself spoke of” that form the basis for marriage as an institution. The archbishop explained:

We have not cultivated the basis for sacrificial love but have, in a sense, fallen victims of a culture that tends to talk about adult choices and options.

I think we’re returning now very much to our roots, saying that at the basis of a good, healthy civilization and society is a family, and at the basis of that family is a sacrificial love

Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, California, warned that the Supreme Court should not “box with God.” “You mess with the definition of marriage and you burn, you’re toast, you cannot win,” said Garlow. “Your arms are too short to box with God. In 50 years they will laugh at you just like they’ll laugh at same-sex marriage.”

Other religious leaders speaking at the event included Ryan Dobson, son of Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson, and Reverend Ruben Diaz, an ordained minister who is pastor of Christian Community Neighborhood Church in the Bronx as well, as a New York state senator. And Reverend Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors. Owens told those gathered:

I am a loving father, and I can tell you it’s a difference between a mother and a father. They love me, but boy they love their mother. How can a man be a mother? A man cannot be a mother. I cannot be a mother to my children, but I can be a good father to my children.

The marchers also heard from secular speakers, including Jennifer Marshall, vice president for the Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation. Marshall said, “Marriage existed before this government or any government,” and is “two halves of humanity coming together for the future of humanity.”

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver told the crowd, “When an earthly law collides with a higher law, we have no choice but to obey the higher law,” and warned that “a re-definition of marriage is a line we will not cross.”

Liberty Counsel is a non-profit pubic interest law firm and ministry that provides free legal assistance in defense of “Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family.” It works in close association with Liberty University, and Staver is Liberty University’s law school dean.

NOM has been engaged in its defense of traditional marriage for several years. It led the initiative to pass California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. After being passed by 52 percent of California voters, the state constitution was amended to read that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The victory was short-lived, however, as Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in August 2010 that the amendment was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment.

While people of faith and constitutional conservatives agree on issues such as the right to life and traditional marriage, not all follow the same approach to solving these moral dilemmas, which are often exacerbated by an overreaching federal court system.

Some conservatives think that the answer is to fight fire with fire and solve the problem at the federal level, by attempting to pass a human personhood or federal marriage amendment. However, aside from the difficulty in getting an amendment passed, even if successful, the amendment would grant more power to the federal government to enforce matters traditionally (and constitutionally) by the states.

When he was in Congress, former Representative Paul (R-Texas) repeatedly introduced a bill he called the “We the People Act,” which would have prohibited all federal courts from hearing cases on abortion, same-sex marriage, and establishment of religion matters, unless such a case were a challenge to the constitutionality of federal law. Paul told Congress:

“The best guarantor of true liberty is decentralized political institutions, while the greatest threat to liberty is concentrated power.

The bill was endorsed by Reverend Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party’s 2008 candidate for president.

Though the “We the People Act” would have settled many conflicts between the federal government and the states on morality issues, it never gained sufficient traction in Congress to be brought up for a vote.

Yet another strategy advocated by conservatives to defend marriage at the state level is nullification. In 2006, Alabama’s voters chose to amend their state’s constitution in order to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The measure passed by an overwhelming 80 percent-plus majority. However, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade recently ruled that the definition of marriage in Alabama had to conform to recent federal rulings recognizing same-sex marriage.

In response to this federal judicial overreach, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore sent a letter to Governor Robert Bentley stating: “As you know, nothing in the United States Constitution grants the federal government the authority to redefine the institution of marriage.” Moore also pointed out that the people of Alabama had only recently amended the state’s constitution stating that marriage is a “sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.”

In an article on the matter posted on February 3, John F. McManus, president of The John Birch Society and publisher of The New American, noted:

Moore’s letter even cited an 1825 opinion registered by Thomas Jefferson regarding nullification of unconstitutional federal mandates, a stand he will stand by. States, said Jefferson, could refuse to comply with unjust and unconstitutional federal dictates. Moore also pointed to the 10th Amendment and its clear affirmation that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution” remain with the states and the people — and no such delegation of power had ever been made. Governor Bentley issued a statement supporting Judge Moore’s call for defiance.

The organizers and participants involved in the March for Marriage are undoubtedly moral people and courageous defenders of the family. It will be hoped by constitutionalists involved in the freedom fight that they will employ every constitutional weapon available to them to roll back federal power as they fight to save the family.


Related Topics:

Sex Education, the Key to Social Engineering*

Ontario Teacher Disciplined for Criticizing Child Sex Ed. – Paedophilia Program*

Canada: The Effect of Homosexual Parenting on One Child*

Kids in Same-sex Households at Greater Risk of Mental Health Problems*

Russia: Call to Boycott the Corrupting Influence of Valentine’s Day*

Bishop Badejo: U.S. won’t fight Boko Haram because of their Eugenics Agenda in Africa*

Gay Activist Admits our Goal is to Indoctrinate Children*

Days of Rage in Baltimore and Mexico*

Days of Rage in Baltimore and Mexico*

By Greg Grandin

Protesters mark the seven-month anniversary of the Ayotzinapa students’ disappearance in Chilpancingo, Mexico. (Reuters/Emiliano Torres)

Yesterday, as Baltimore restaged the intifada, protesters in Mexico, in Chilpancingo, the capital of the state of Guerrero, rammed a flaming truck into the glass-fronted congressional building, and set fire to at least six other vehicles. They had taken to the streets to mark the seven-month anniversary of the disappearances of the 43 students, who have come to represent the hundreds of thousands of dead as a result of US-Mexico’s drug, immigration, and trade policies (a number of the relatives of the disappeared are currently in New York, where they are appealing to the United Nations to end Washington’s so-called Merida Initiative, or Plan Mexico, which sends billions of dollars to Mexico to supposedly fight drugs but which the relatives of the 43 say goes to “suppress dissent”).

Elsewhere this week, in Oaxaca, protesters did damage to the building of the governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional. Videos of the Chilpancingo protest are here, here, here. In Mexico City, demonstrators erected an “anti-monument,” a large red 43 in the middle of the business center.

Obviously, the right way to think about the murder of Freddie Gray and the protests that followed is to think deeply about slavery and post-Abolition racism in the United States. Immediately after the trouble began yesterday, historians and critics on social media were broadcasting information about Baltimore’s history as a slave port, its long history of police brutality, its equally long history of resisting race terror. Apparently, Spiro Agnew’s law-and-order response to a protest that turned violent in 1968 bought him his spot on Nixon’s ticket.

One can also, without diluting the power of that deep history, think about the repression and reaction laterally, as an effect of the same transnational policing and trade policies responsible for the disappearance of the 43 student-activists in Mexico. Since the August murder of Michael Brown and the September abduction of the 43 Mexican students, #BlackLivesMatter and #TodosSomosAyotzinapa are just two of the hashtags that have captured distinct heterodox protest movements that are converging.

I was at an event the other night at CUNY, a “Citizen’s Tribunal,” part of a “caravan” that is bringing the parents and advocates of the 43 disappeared to over 40 US cities (Roberto Lovato writes about it here in The Nation). At the CUNY event, a lawyer for the parents said that the two principal obstacles to “neo-liberalism”—and hence the two principal targets of neo-liberalism’s enforcers—were the ejidos, that is, peasant communities who still hold and work their land in common, and the rural teacher-training institutes (like the one where the 43 were enrolled), which for decades has taken the lead in protesting the dispossession generated by “free trade.” In the wake of Baltimore, that observation put me to think that Mexican peasant communities and African-American urban communities are broadly structurally analogous in their relation to “free trade” capitalism.

On both sides of the border, the absence of any sane, humane, industrial or rural policy has created concentrations of dispensable peoples. On both sides of the border, children of these dispensable people are most vulnerable.

“In 2007, Baltimore City African American infants were almost nine times more likely to die before age 1 than White infants residing in Baltimore City.”

In Mexico, the southern agrarian states, including Guerrero, that have suffered under NAFTA have similarly stunningly high rates of infant mortality. On both sides of the border, these people, the victims of failed government policy, are then blamed for the failure of government policy, their culture, their attitude, their “values,” and their music (rap, hip-hop, and the narcocorrido). On both sides of the border, rolling protests, days of rage and frustration like those seen in Baltimore and Chilpancingo have difficulty coalescing into a national movement, building a coalition with elites or national-level political parties due to the fragmentation of politics, itself an effect of government economic policy.

On both sides of the border, US federal money funds the over-policing of the crisis.

“The weapons that are given to Mexico [by Washington] are used to kill us, not help us,” said Blanca Luz Nava Velez, whose 19-year-old son, Jorge, is among the missing.

And on both side of the border, the crisis is generated by federal policies (enacted by both Washington and Mexico City) that are designed to keep pay low and jobs precarious: What demands can a segregated labor force divided by a garrisoned border make on capital that can go anywhere it wants, anytime it wants?

Advocates of the North American Free Trade Agreement did say that economic liberalization would bring about a convergence. They were right. Just wait to see what the TPP brings.


Related Topics:

The Pressure Cooker under Baltimore*

Soros Turned Ferguson from a Local Protest to a National Flashpoint*

Detroit: Your World under TPP*

Arizona: AZ SB1070 Is Not a Law

Mexico Protest Blacked Out By Media

Iranian Researchers turn Tumeric into an anti-Cancer Nano-drug*

Iranian Researchers turn Tumeric into an anti-Cancer Nano-drug*

Iranian researchers have produced a nano-drug which has proven effective in battling treatment resistant cancers.

The Cancer Research Center of Tehran University of Medical Sciences produced the polymer-based nano-carrier for the targeted release of the anti-cancer drug curcumin, ISNA reported on Sunday.

“This nano-carrier was made without the use of poisonous catalysts and has proven successful in clinical trials on a number cancer patients,”  said Dr Ali Mohammad Alizadeh from the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council.

Research has proven that curcumin, which is found in turmeric, has anti-cancer and cancer preventing properties apart from its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, he added.

When curcumin is prescribed in its edible form, it has a low effect on the targeted tissues because of its low absorption rate and fast metabolism which causes it to be flushed from the body, he noted.

However, by capsuling curcumin in nano-emulsions (nano curcumin) its medical properties increase, Alizadeh noted.

Even if prescribed in high dosages, the drug is proven not poisonous during first-stage clinical trials and is currently near the end of stage two clinical trials on drug-resistant breast and digestive tract cancers.

Mohammad Irani, a Ph.D. student in chemistry engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology and lead author of the study, said the project aims to design and build a nano-drug which increases the chemo efficiency and reduces the poisonous effects of anti-cancer drugs.

He said he and his fellow researchers have designed a nano-fiber scaffold carrying multi-walled nano-carbon pipes as drug carrier.

Using the nano-fiber scaffold carrying the Doxorubicin, the anti-cancer drug improves the treatment process and lowers the level of poison in the drug.

It takes the scaffold 30 days to get released. The anti-poison properties stay in the scaffold for three days.

An electro process method has been used to produce the nano-drug. The research also studied the way the drug is released into cancer cells in laboratories.

The results of the study have been published in Applied Polymer Science Journal.

Alizadeh added that because all the basic materials required to manufacture nano-curcumin are available in the country it can be domestically mass-produced as an anti-cancer drug.


Related Topics:

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

African- Americans Schooled for Failure*

African- Americans Schooled for Failure*

By D Watkins

My 13-year-old nephew Butta was getting into trouble weekly. Arguing with teachers, ignoring administrators, and walking out of class. To the point where my sister had a time-block in her schedule every month dedicated to parent-teacher conferences – but they didn’t work.

helen keller and who really governsButta is as harmless as he is plump – that jolly kid who loves to split up his chips between his friends and would gladly give you the last bite of his sandwich. He’s never been in trouble outside of school, which says a lot, since his dad, the rest of his uncles and I had all been arrested or kicked out of a school at least once by the time we reached his age.

‘What’s going on with your classes?’ I asked him.

‘My teachers hate me and they throw me in wit Mr Ronald, that sub who be on his phone all day, talkin’ about he don’t need this job, cuz he got his own company! He ain’t got no company!’

Butta’s in middle school so he should have more than one teacher. But they throw all the troubled kids in one class with a long-term substitute teacher all day, where they are allowed to shoot dice, play cards, IG, Tweet, Facebook, dance, stand on desks and basically do whatever they please. I’ve been guilty of pushing subs around – everybody taunts the sub when the normal teacher is absent, but these kids have been doing this for months.

Everyone knows how tough the middle schools in Baltimore are. I recently had a conversation with Stacey Cook, a former teacher from James McHenry Elementary/Middle in South Baltimore and she told me that they had multiple shootings last year, right in front of their building during school hours. ‘One day the gym teacher was almost caught in the crossfire. He hit the buzzer, fearing for his life, begging to be let in. But the principal waited until the shooting stopped. He said we knew where we were and that’s how it is. The gym teacher, me and a bunch of other educators left at the end of the year.’

I’m grateful that no one has shot up my nephew’s school, but his learning experience was still criminal. Being trapped in a room for six-plus hours a day, surrounded by chaos and a sub fingering his phone sounds illegal.

I thought that Butta and his teachers probably had a communication problem that I could mediate. A lot of inner-city teachers are used to dealing with just one parent, if any – I wanted to be the objective voice considering all points of view with the hope of helping him develop a working relationship with his teacher and getting back on track, so I decided to visit.

My sister and I pulled up in front of his school on a Monday. It looked clean from the outside and was located on a nice tree-lined block.

We were buzzed into a narrow hallway. Three huge school officers in small uniforms clogged the path. They looked like COs. The built-in metal detector was cracked and unplugged, so in prison fashion one of the guards scanned us with a wand while another checked our credentials. We passed their test and were directed to the main office, a level up at the end of the same hallway.

The stairwell smelled like used rubbers and rat piss. Blunt guts, unidentifiable fluids and candy wrappers laced the floor. I stepped over all of that and made my way to the office. Some concerned-looking parents and guardians were present, probably trying to see what it would take to make sure their kids received a quality education – the same thing I wanted to do for Butta.

I got the concept of dreaming; but my ancestors came here bearing only fear, chains and uncertainty.

We greeted the secretary. She seemed nice, remembered my sister and instructed us to sign in before sending us up to Butta’s class. That same funky smell in the stairwell greeted us again as we advanced another level.

This school seemed like a jail, and level two – Butta’s floor – was the psych ward. Students bolting up and down the hallways, desks taking flight, a trail of graded and ungraded papers scattered everywhere, fight videos being recorded on cellphones, Rich Homie Quan turned to the highest level, crap games and card games going down with children named Bitch and Fuckyou everywhere – all bottled up and sealed with that same shitty smell, so bad it was loud enough to hear, a shit stench I hoped wouldn’t stick to my flannel.

‘So this is it,’ my sister says with an uneasy smirk.

This is her only option.

She’s raising Butta alone and even though we all chip in, private school is still too expensive. Butta’s classroom was an East Baltimore block party – slam-dancing, students leaping from tabletop to tabletop, and one of the substitutes Butta talked about texting and Facebooking. A main goal for our visit was to get Butta away from the texting sub and back to his real teacher, but she was gone that day anyway – stomped down and beat up, we later learned, by eighth-grade girls mad after she confiscated their cell phones.

It’s hard to receive a good education in this environment. I’d be hard pressed to believe a good teacher could be effective. The computers were ancient, the textbooks were decayed, and the classroom felt like it was 15 degrees Fahrenheit – 30 to 35 musky, puberty-drenched kids and it was still cold. How can you learn in the cold? How can we be in the United States, in 2014, in a major metropolitan city and not have temperature-controlled rooms? I mean, the main office was nice and cozy so why were the classrooms meat freezers?

Not that I was surprised. My middle-school experience had been identical, from the smell and lack of technology to the over-worked and/or disengaged teachers who turned into a sub-hub by mid-year. Add that learning experience to the idea of being educated in a war zone. My story in conjunction with Butta’s does nothing but follow a long tradition of the African-American educational experience in the US.

Back in the late 1990s, my all-American, apple-pie-faced middle school history teacher used to put us to sleep with his month-long patriotic rants. He would gaze into the sky and tell stories about how the US was the only place where you could come bearing nothing but your religion and a dream, and experience an inexhaustible amount of success. I got the concept of dreaming; but my ancestors came here bearing only fear, chains and uncertainty. They were not people in search of hope but captives forced to cultivate and construct the so-called free world.

‘There’s a myth floating around that education is white culture, books are white culture,’ said Eric Rice, an expert in urban education, when I went to visit him at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education this year.

‘But African Americans have a long history of wanting education. The South had laws against teaching slaves to read, and people risked beatings and death trying to learn to read during slavery. There has always been a huge demand.’

The Lincoln administration made a conscious effort to right the wrongs in education along with other social injustices through the Freedmen’s Bureau, established in 1865. Charged with clothing, feeding, employing and otherwise helping the newly free people of colour become US citizens, it even had dispensation to grant land. The Reconstruction era in the US, those couple of years when the South was to rebuild itself from 1865 through 1867, would have been a great time to help blacks assimilate to the dominant culture through education. For the first time, the US was seeing the rise of black business owners, black politicians, and the black church, but our country didn’t capitalise on the opportunity. None of that success led to a spark in black schools.

Instead, Lincoln’s promises died with him that night at the theatre in 1865. Andrew Johnson, the next president, vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau renewal in 1866. He confiscated the land African Americans were acquiring in the South and gave it back to the white Southerners who occupied it before the war. From 1866 to 1869, Johnson depleted the Freedmen’s Bureau, which was eventually dismantled in full by his successor, Ulysses Grant in 1872.

Sure, schools for freed slaves emerged. Within a year of emancipation, at least 8,000 former slaves began attending schools in Georgia; eight years later, those same black schools struggled to contain nearly 20,000 students. Scores of children piled into these shacks, trying to compete while dealing with broken or no desks, leaky ceilings and limited utensils.

A one-room school house near Selma, Alabama in 1965. Photo by Bruce Davidson/Magnum


Sure, schools for freed slaves emerged. Within a year of emancipation, at least 8,000 former slaves began attending schools in Georgia; eight years later, those same black schools struggled to contain nearly 20,000 students. Scores of children piled into these shacks, trying to compete while dealing with broken or no desks, leaky ceilings and limited utensils.

‘Many of the early schools for black students received hand-me-down supplies and textbooks from white schools. The class sizes were larger and the teachers had fewer qualifications. The resources devoted to black schools were fewer and lower-quality than those devoted to white schools,’ Rice told me. We made it into the classrooms but not on the same level.

Jim Crow laws allowing racial segregation guaranteed that the gap would widen as years passed. By the end of the 19th century, 17 states and the District of Columbia required school segregation by law. Four others allowed the option.

That seemed poised to change when, in 1951, 13 families from Topeka, Kansas filed a lawsuit against their Board of Education. Like their ancestors, they wanted a quality education for their children – similar to what white children in the US had been receiving for decades. The case came to be known as Brown v the Board of Education and was a major victory in the fight for education for African American students. Brown v Board of Education showed an immense amount of promise, giving many blacks hope that the US could change. The landmark Supreme Court decision of 1954 overturned the Plessy v Ferguson verdict of 1896, which allowed state-sponsored segregation with a 9-0 unanimous decision declaring that separate schools for blacks and whites were unconstitutional.

But the idea of blacks and whites being schooled together sent the nation into a frenzy. On 11 June 1963, George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, went as far as to stand in the door of the University of Alabama flanked by state troopers, so that black students couldn’t get in to register, standing down only after President John F Kennedy called in the National Guard.

‘White flight’ was the remedy for many Caucasians petrified by the thought that their child might share class with a Negro. They took their tax money, their resources, and their high-quality schools with them to the ’burbs. Blockbusting – the practice of pushing down property values in a neighbourhood through rumours of an imminent influx of some ‘undesirable’ group – and redlining – the practice of denying and charging more for banking services in an effort to racially construct a neighbourhood – were the most publicised means of keeping the races separate. Banks’ ability to accept and decline mortgages on the sole basis of colour were adjuncts to the effort, as well.

So there you have it; a combination of poor schools, institutionalised segregation, and minimal funding not only cultivated the deep roots of educational denial, but also strengthened the foundation upon which achievement gaps are built on today. The combination of all of these historical events led to what I call the Tradition of Failure. The tradition was not self-imposed. Obviously, African Americans can take some personal responsibility for the state of our race; however, many of us do not have a clue because we come from a tradition of people who never had a clue, leading all the way back to the day our ancestors left Elmina, the former slave port in Ghana that launched us on our turgid journey to this new world.

They did not have a clue what was waiting for them on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps worse, we entered America as the lazy, ungrateful, enemy without even knowing why, and it has been an uphill battle full of limitless racial and social restraints every step of the way. We didn’t invent the idea of race or conceptualise the theory of free labour and what it could mean on a global scale. We just did what we were forced or told to do, and have been paying the price ever since.

The biggest price has been something that even my slave ancestors might never have imagined: while education was being withheld from blacks, the prison doors were wide open and welcomed us with open arms. The Ohio State University civil rights attorney Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow (2010), writes: ‘The criminal justice system was strategically employed to force African Americans back into a system of extreme repression and control, a tactic that would continue to prove successful for generations to come.’

The pipeline from school to prison has been a hot topic in the US and the subject of many lectures and debates. M K Asante, who wrote about this loop in Buck (2013), his memoir of inner-city Philadelphia, says his own public-school experience forced many of his friends into the streets. ‘There’s a toxic, incestuous relationship between pipeline schools, prisons and the politicians whose campaigns are funded by corporations that directly benefit from mass incarceration, prison labour and contracts, all at the expense of black lives. Black schools are a part of the prison industrial complex,’ he contends. Asante thinks that pipeline schools run through poor urban communities strictly to prepare black students for prison. ‘Grade school is supposed to prepare students for college or a trade. So think about it, there’s bars on the windows, prison-like guards, and metal detectors! Everything is institutionalised just like a jail. The combination of these elements make up a breeding ground for prison.’

I thought about the things I saw as I entered Butta’s school and asked about the role corporations play. ‘Prisons are being privatised now, and a poor education in combination with other factors that exist in poor-black communities are making black failure profitable [for those companies],’ Asante contends.

He asked the question in his memoir in the chapter ‘The Pipeline’:

‘If schools look like prisons and prisons look like schools, will we act like students or prisoners?’

The ambience that created my schooling experience explains why many of the people I went to middle school with didn’t make it to high school. And even though I finished, the bulk of my surroundings and influences make me feel like a transition into a life of crime is easier than reading on grade level, which sounds crazy, but it might be true.

I don’t know what percentage of kids Butta’s age sell drugs. But in April 2014, our hometown paper, The Baltimore Sun, reported our city’s educational achievement: ‘According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, only 7% of black boys in Baltimore City schools are reading at grade level in 8th grade. Even worse, in Maryland, 57% of black males are currently graduating from high school compared to 81% for white males. Hundreds of black boys drop out of Baltimore high schools each year. They enter the adult world unable to read and comprehend the daily newspaper or to find a job that supports the cost of food and shelter.’

Something is missing in a large number of the predominantly black schools in the US. Whatever that missing ‘thing’ is, the streets seem to fill the void. The streets provide an education in everything that many of these schools don’t, such as survival skills, kinship, moneymaking opportunities, and love. A love that is absent from the cold hallways of schools such as the ones Butta, myself and millions of other African Americans attend.

Butta’s school has been shut down along with a few other troubled city schools since my visit. He now must attend another school in a different district full of the kids who already attended, in addition to the new students who are being packed in because their school was shut down, creating an even worse climate. Butta’s new school is almost the same as his old one. He’s receiving a semi-education now; even more schools in Baltimore are closing this year following Maryland’s new republican Governor Larry Hogan’s massive proposal to cut $35 million from Baltimore Public Schools, meaning that classes could become more crowded and all of these issues could get worse. This isn’t just a Baltimore issue. There are schools in Philadelphia that are packed with rodents and hold classes with as many as 50 students.

Too often I hear people cry: ‘Our schools are broken, our schools are broken!’ But are they? Are our schools broken or is our system working perfectly for its creators? During the years I pursued a master of science in education at Johns Hopkins, I studied a theory called ‘social reproduction’, the brainchild of a Connecticut sociologist named Christopher Doob. His theory holds that we’ve got to produce a certain number of minimum-wage workers and inmates – a general collection of bottom-feeders – for capitalism to sustain, and so we build the social structures to keep that going.

‘Social reproduction is a real thing,’ Rice tells me, ‘but I don’t think it’s intentional. The system tends to produce the people who are needed for the jobs that will be available. We hear all of this talk on how we need to teach critical thinking because the jobs of the future will be in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science, but actually a huge number of jobs in the future will be in fast food, different service industries and many fields that don’t require critical thinking. I’m not saying that a small group of people are planning this; however, it strikes me as interesting that we continue to produce a huge number of people fit for these jobs and they tend to come out of these school systems.’

Schools such as the one Butta and I attended are funded by property taxes from neighbourhoods full of housing projects and boarded-up homes, where the poor pay to perpetuate their own misery. The age-old system, in conjunction with law enforcement, makes the pipeline from public school to prison a reality.

I agree with Rice: I’m sure we won’t find a room full of rich white men from the top 1 per cent planning to flow through the pipeline $5,000 bottles of champagne and hors d’oeuvre, but I think the system perpetuates itself. It’s easy to think the whole idea of social reproduction is a drummed-up conspiracy theory, that it isn’t real, but I feel sure it is. How can it be otherwise when the US – arguably the world’s capital of innovation – doesn’t aggressively address this problem from the top down.


And I would challenge anyone who disagrees to walk through the schools in the neighbourhoods where I grew up; if we don’t need to fill up the prisons with more of Baltimore youth, then why don’t we fix the schools now?

I applaud pioneers such as the charter-school pioneer Geoffrey Canada who recognised the disparities in education in the African American community and made an honest attempt to address them from the bottom up by creating schools that shattered the norms. To date, his Harlem Children’s Zone has produced multiple senior classes with over 92% cent four-year college acceptance rates. Many charter schools across the US have adopted Canada’s model along with other new models that focus on creating college-ready kids and reported success. So if it works, why can’t his models be adapted in all public schools? Why can’t we evolve pedagogy and reach for even higher levels of success?

I posed this question to Rice, who also sits on the board of two charter schools in Baltimore. ‘Geoffrey Canada’s success has a lot to do with his ability to raise funds. He’s found donors and supporters who traditionally don’t want to give money to school systems. I don’t know if that is a sustainable way to solve the bigger problems in entire urban districts. For me, if we really want to solve education, we need to decide to solve issues in poverty, all of the associated health problems, and employment challenges.’

Rice is speaking a language that reverts right back to the root of all the educational issues our country faces. The idea that communities are structured to create generations of snubbed students who go on to create generations of snubbed students makes the idea of social reproduction real.

Revamping the public school system is just half the battle, says Celia Neustadt, founder of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Project, a non-profit that works with schools and teens and specialises in social change. Neustadt says her project’s success comes from stepping outside the system.

‘The young people I work with are confronted by the reality of supporting their families and keeping them safe,’ she says.

To help such teens succeed and make it to college, a radically different toolset must be employed.

We’re quick to say that the US is a fair place where anyone can excel, but that’s not true. We need to acknowledge the failure so entrenched in history we cannot see it clearly, let alone root it out. African Americans are not stupid underachievers. Our accomplishments in science, innovation, athletics, business and politics are extraordinary – especially when you consider the countless constraints. As a matter of fact, we should be judged by our survival skills. I remember asking my friend Ron from West Baltimore about the recession after the market crashed in 2008, and he laughed: ‘Recession? What recession? Everything is the same round here!’ In fact for us it was an equaliser in some ways – people outside our communities were starting to feel the pain we’re used to.

We were born into a permanent recession where making $20 last a week is not a miracle – it is a way of life. Ovens are frequently used to heat up homes, everyone works under the table, and a new hustle is created every day.

A given: African Americans want to learn and be inspired like anyone else. Scholars can help bridge the achievement gaps, but only if they take the time to see what these students are up against. My own way of tackling the problem is through literacy. I want to get more people in low-income neighbourhoods to develop a love for reading by creating literature that speaks directly to poverty-stricken people and encourages them to write.

But we all have a moral obligation to set things right. We are all responsible for challenging the system and forcing it to create a fair learning experience for all students because we are dealing with more than just a failed school system or a broken home, or even millions of broken homes: we are dealing with failure on a historic scale, spanning hundreds of years. Acknowledging that we face this kind of epic failure is the first step in bringing about real change. That’s the big challenge in the US, where accepting failure has never been our strength.

No one can do everything, but if we follow the Ethiopian proverb ‘When spiders unite, they can tie down a lion’, we’ll have a better chance of solving these issues together and creating a nation that lives up to its founders’ dreams of truly offering success.


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